I used to really enjoy reading waterthread.org. But a while back they merged with f13.net. However, f13.net is kinda boring and generally there isn’t much happening there. It seemed to me there was a lot of controversy about the merge so I am wondering if a lot of the waterthread people ended up somewhere else that I should check out. Or something.

A great many of the people associated with the whole waterthread thing went http://www.corpnews.com. This pretty much broke the whole former associates of lum community in two, so not a whole lot is going on at either site.

Addendum: Corpnews is also known as the “site that shall not be named” at f13, for some childish reason or another.

That whole scene stopped being worth more than a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys the moment Lum left it.

I assume by the mention of Lum, that is in regards to his wonderful, if short lived, site.

I shall now sing a soft lament to myself in it’s memory…

This wouldn’t be happening were I still alive!

(3 years is short lived? Well, I guess compared to Harper’s Weekly…)

Yes, after the transformation from Waterthread to F13 the community splitted, mostly between Corpnews and F13. Neither of them is an extremely active place since the focus on games has been gradually lost. So there’s still a community but without a shared passion and interest anymore.

F13 seems to have slightly different plans but it’s again, imho, just another sign of a lack of a purpose. I’ve commented about this here (it will be moved here with another copy here).

I feel like I’m the only one left who really miss the old attitude.

Other places I read are Grimwell and Anyuzer, both the homepage and the forums. Another new extremely interesting writer is Cosmik. So good that at a point I was convinced it was Lum under a fake identity (and I still have some doubts).

In the last few days I also managed to discover some old drama if someone is curious (here or here) and (here or here). Perhaps I’ll find some time to write more on my personal conclusion about what I re-discovered. Peoples think that it’s about the past and it has less than zero relevance, while I think it is extremely interesting and useful to understand many aspects of the current situation (about mmorpgs in general).

In a couple of posts from this old thread there’s one of the two reasons (the other is Lum) about why the community didn’t hold:

I always came here to read critical points of view on MMORPGs. When the devs and serious gamers come out and talk candidly about the direction and design of their games, thats a pretty unique thing that is hard to find anywhere. Anywhere else its heavily moderated and managed by professional PR people who are deathly scared they might piss someone off. With the latest changes, the best part of these forums die.


The days of developers saying anything that hasn’t gone through the PR sieve are pretty much gone anyway.

The community didn’t hold because all of the core members with interesting shit to say were either hired by MMORPG developers or burned out on MMORPGs. Really there are only so many bunnies you can bash. It’s a lot of bunnies, quiter a bit more than an outsider might reasonably expect, but it is a finite number. When the last bunny fell, two groups remained; on the left fudgepackers like eldin, snowspinner, schild, etc, who did their damndest to profit off a huge truckload of buggywhips when everybody else was cruising in automobiles (f13) and on the right the remains of the in-joke crowd, noble but bored and boring (corpnews).

So anyway, the burned-out ones basically recycled in-jokes for a year or so, then when that got old many migrated to different pastures, like this one. Not that the level of chatter is any better, really, but the in-jokes are different.

I used to lurk (and occasionally post) on Lum’s site. It was my first true step into the awful, filthy world of internet gaming commentary. For some reason I still remember the hilarity of Lum playing WW2 Online, and the horrific shit-fest that was the Anarchy Online launch.

It could be a pretty mean-spirited place, however. They were certainly good at finding problems and pointing them out, but not so good at analyzing the problems and finding better solutions. It was back in the day though, so just having a site that would talk about these problems in the first place was good enough for most (including me). Not only that, but people of importance posted there. It was a gateway to the designers and decision-makers! I felt the discussions there, in some cosmic way, had a glimmer of a chance at improving games.

When the site dissolved and my passion for MMOGs cooled, I fell out of the loop for some time. Somehow, through circumstances I can no longer remember, I found Waterthread. It was touted as the refuge for the Lum the Mad gang, but it never clicked with me. I found the rants and discussions there to be even more mean-spirited and out of control. To reference Jon Stewart, it was a lot like watching Crossfire.

At least here things are (sorta) civil, or at the very least, a bit more constructive. I guess MMOG discussion (and game discussion in general) is the kind of drama I love to learn about. It’s almost like a soap opera. Sometimes the stories get so bad, they make you cringe. But it’s that ridiculousness, that tongue-in-cheek outrageousness, that compels me to read and post about it. I’ve been following it for too long to turn away now.

For my money, the really highbrow critique went to Grimwell.com. f13 and Corpnews are where the community went, but the high-level discussions didn’t necessarily go with them.

I think your definitions are correct, Corpnews has that even on the forum rules:

In general, the only points where a reply of less than one line quoting a post of longer than one line are acceptabe are “Psycho.”, and these must only be used by those who know and acknowledge the true power and meaning of the phrase.

use of the “die in a car fire” brand of replies is restricted.

But I don’t agree on the reasons why the community didn’t hold. As I hinted above I have defined two general factors, both equally important and my starting point was one of J.'s comments:

If the demand for someone holding a mirror up to the gaming industry is so great, someone ought to be able to do it, besides him.

1- Lum was a “special” writer. He was and is talented in a way that cannot be simply copied or inherited. It was important /how/ he wrote and not really /what/ he wrote. “What” is something you can study and learn to reproduce but “how” he wrote was his special quality. This is all about Lum and has nothing to do with the industry or the mmorpg genre.
2- The relationship between devs and the community. Or as GBob says: “forcing game companies to engage the player base in a real dialog”. The presence of devs is the other missing half. With the time even the most open game companies like Mythic have learnt to retreat and barricate in the ivory tower (follow the link for a full immersion in the past). Their first principle is that the community is the enemy. Avoid any concession.

Those two reasons prevent the community to be strong today and the same two reasons worked /together/, back in the days, to build that community that now has no sense. One was a complementary to the other.

Oh, just a related update I find extremely interesting. This is what Lum is writing on his blog:

I think the “secret” to ltm.net that most people missed was that I thought the vast majority of this stuff was, well. Funny. I took it seriously, but not too seriously. It was a fine line. I mean, in the end, we’re talking about Dungeons and Dragons, people.

And it’s exactly one of my recurring thoughts. Even if I dream about trying for myself to write better, I always know I cannot because my english suck. But even with a proper english I know that I wouldn’t be able to write so well as he does for a simpler reason: my sense of humor tends to suck.

Then there’s the auto autoirony and the capacity to not take yourself and the other things too seriously and dramatically.

And this fits perfectly with something that Blaze wrote a pair of weeks ago:

Lum, is a good writer and can make people feel what he is saying. He is also a heck of a comedian when he puts his mind to it.

(btw, he quoted me, only the first line belongs to J. - I claim back my poor english…)

It’s again how we write, not what.
And when I personally think about whether I can contribute or not I simply realize that I cannot solve that point by myself. So I just hope someone else picks up the challenge.

At least I know that I suck at this. Perhaps without much autoirony, but self-conscious for sure.

Lum was (and assumedly still is) a good writer with a dry wit. A very good writer, even, but not “special”. You’re really oozing sycophancy dude, and you weren’t even around then. The site was successful due to more than Lum; it was successful because MMORPG’s were fresh and new, and we were really excited about them. Also addicted to them, and fanatical about them, and so deeply immersed in the entire scene that lengthly discourses on bring back precasting, biotch, and how abashi should be fired, and camping jboots, and so on and so forth were common and not only not ridiculed but commented on for pages by people that truly cared. That’s why LtM was successful.

The devs certainly were not forced to post on LtM by community pressure or anything else. They wanted to, because it was a cool place to be with a higher than average signal to noise ratio talking about their work. Just like raph’s compliment to grimwell.com right in this thread-- it’s cool and interesting, so he’ll check it out. Instead of continuous bitching about the latest patch’s nerf, occasionally on LtM you would see discussion on game theory, higher level intellectual elbow patches on your blazer raph kind of stuff. Why? Because the community was excited about MMORPG’s then and held strong opinions to debate.

I agree with what you say, stusser, but I give it a different interpretation.

You assume that the genre isn’t anymore interesting and the players are bored. I think this is false. There’s a space of interest BIGGER than before, imho.

What happened is the same that happened in other contexts. This community was a subculture that drew the attention of the main institution, willingly or unwillingly. As it happens with EVERY subculture first there’s a calm cohabitation, perhaps with a slight curiosity, perhaps with a few, sparse fights. Then the clash becomes stronger, the main institution needs to denaturalize the subculture so that it can assimilate it in its fabric. It’s something in particular that Mythic tried to do. Let the door open, let everyone in with presents and kind words, then suddenly shut down everything when the situation isn’t anymore positive and desired.

My point of view from the start is that this open confrontation is more important for the game companies than for the players and the barricades are hurting both parts equally

I disagree with what you’ve said.


if it’s any consolation I think your site was around too long and that you smell sort of like poo.

I still check out his personal blog. His writing is just fine. I find it to be unique.

I was a long time lurker and occasional poster…very occasional. LTM was a great site. sniff sniff Da memories.